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leila

like weather (re-mastered reissue)

modern love / thank u records



limited lp + 7"

Released: 4th Dec 2020

£23.99

out of stock


When you make a record that doesn’t conform, expect to divide opinion.

‘Like Weather’ was released in 1998, on Rephlex - run by Grant Wilson Claridge and Richard D James - an often great label that had a following largely made up of aphex-logo wearing fanboys who couldn’t quite deal with electronic music made by a girl - let alone one that used vocals. Everything those lads couldn’t fathom about ‘Like Weather’ is essentially what makes it untouchable; one of the greatest, most effortlessly esoteric pop albums ever made, not in the lineage of IDM or Trip Hop, genres it has so often been awkwardly lumped in with, but something else that cant quite be categorised - even 22 years later. ‘Like Weather’ echoes the world-building energy of Prince’s ‘Sign O The Times’ - every track is a self contained universe all its own, there are no rules or conventions - it’s full of hooks, but also insular as fuck, the production is all over the place and it still sounds like nothing else (although if you’re into the Mica Levi-produced Tirzah album, know that this here is the aesthetic, spiritual blueprint). It feels analog, then digital - it’s R&B, but also baroque music box, drone pop, experimental, electronic, junglist - attempting to define it is like trying to cup mercury in the palm of your hands; it’ll just find something else to slide into. In 2020 we reckon it’s time to re-appraise ‘Like Weather’ as one of the great “lost” albums of our age, made by a female auteur operating in an overwhelmingly male-dominated scene at the turn of the century. Now newly remastered by Rashad Becker (a long, 6 month process - trust that a lot of work has gone into it) - it sounds fucking amazing, one of only a handful of records that have never left our side these last two decades. So yeah, we could write a long thing here about Leila’s background playing keyboard for Bjork, her meeting with the Rephlex lads, the Aphex connection etc etc, but ‘Like Weather is a record that needs no hype - for real - listen to it and you’ll know. Promo Contact: [email protected] Like Weather, the story of... The year was 1996, having done 2 world tours (debut and post) with bjork, i had decided to leave to spend more time at home and enjoy music and noise-making with the new sonic toys i had acquired. On the first tour i had done back-up keyboards and backing vocals and on the second i did live mixing (which accelerated my desire to go home and make some noise), all the people that sung and performed on it were people that were friends and happened to be knocking about; luca had previously had a solo record deal and had made some records. His brother had told him i had a studio and he initially came round because i was going to show him how to use a studio to make his own music. donna was a good friend who i knew wanted to sing and i had always loved her “lovers rock” tone and harmonic sensibility. my sister had always sung and performed since childhood and was already in the house so, another great option. I was very lucky in having met some of the greatest of the techno boys from my time with bjork and had maintained interesting, creative friendships with a few of them. i had already done some intense studio sessions with the plaid boys (distorted 808s and breakbeats with live mixes recorded on dats that still need editing ...) and have the particular accolade of being the last person to do a session with original “the black dog” at kens house (he liked the fact that i was iranian and persia holds particular significance for lovers of mysticism and we gave the world the “magi”) . I had formed a really good friendship with richard james (time spent playing computer games, smoking and listening/ talking music) so he used to pop over to my house and when he heard some of the music i was making, he said that rephlex (the label ran with grant) would be happy to put some music out. everything was recorded in my house and i would put live mixes down, but when it came to finished mixes i knew i would have to do some comps (merging and editing between different mixes).i did try this at home myself but the hardware i had was pretty rubbish and the comps sounded like a lower grade cassette version due to loss of audio quality. so when it came time to do the comps, i did an epic weekend/ few days at richard’s where he very patiently helped me do the comps from the dats (he had very expensive pro tools hardware that was the most accurate for this kind of data work) . Both richard’s and grant’s input and opinion were important especially grant who (as a fan of prince and soul music) had a very big heart for vocal music (a lot of the techno boys had very little stomach for vocals which is why they made such engaging instrumental music where the machines did the talking) . The name like weather? i had played the album to graham massey and he looked at me said “it’s like the weather” (variety/ extremity of style changes and the presence of the music feeling so vivid) . As a dj and and fan of music, all i knew is that i wanted to make a record that expressed the full range of music and the spectrum of stories it can tell and the emotions it can evoke. I had always liked vocal music but also instrumental music, so it felt very natural to have them on one record .... neither was to be an “aside” and both styles had to be committed and intentional. too often, vocal led records had incredibly vague instrumentals and instrumental led albums had wish washy vocals . my palette is that of an expressionist and so both forms had to be purposeful and absolute . the idea was like the “now thats what i call music” albums that were released every year ... but all on one album . i am primarily a fan of music who just happened to make music, so my loyalty is to the noise, not scenes, crews or gangs . gilles peterson had initially lent me the money to buy a computer and studio gear so this album could have gone to him but i also sensed his label / business set up (his label was part of a major at this time) would have problems with such a rugged/ varied record). rephlex felt perfect, i knew and liked the people involved and the record would go out randomly, abstractly and shyly (i fall into the category of the “awkward” artist) . as a child of revolution and a “foreigner” i enjoyed the otherness of having a half vocal album on a specialist techno label (it would have been strange on any label, so might as well have a laugh) . the artwork ...... made over another epic long weekend with friends who i had been at university with (playing computer games, smoking and scanning) . bob was working somewhere were they had a very well equipped visual studio so we used their computers and scanners to get the files together . i then wrote my own press release and the press was managed by a guy called jones whose word was worth something and knew absolutely how/ with whom to share the record . the first review i saw was the one in the sunday times (i had bought a copy for my dad and had no idea it would be in there) - it was extra special for me as the review called it the lost/ special archive prince record. jones actually received calls at the time about this notion which was funny and strange (i personally don’t think prince would have let such a sonically in-cohesive record go, he was still of the time where you had “proper” studios, set up for “proper” recordings of instruments etc) but it was amazing to get such a reaction nonetheless, rephlex even had the mercury prize call up about submitting it for that year but i explained that i didnt have a british passport (i rather liked the “otherness” of my stateless passport). I was blessed to live in a house where we were already pretty noisy and busy so the randoms that were hanging around and singing and playing was no biggie (my father had owned nightclubs at various points in his life ... including monkberrys in london when we moved here in the late 70s so they weren’t really bothered by the freaks and geeks that were hanging about) . so why all this time later? hmmm curious one. rephlex only owned it legally for 7 years and all the other times where the idea of re-releasing came up always felt contrived and obvious . doing a new remastered re-issue with a label like modern love felt the most true to the spirit of the original release (out of nowhere and in a unexpected place). Leila Arab, 2020

like weather (re-mastered reissue)

Tracklist

  1. Something
  2. Don’t Fall Asleep
  3. Underwaters (One For Keni)
  4. Feeling
  5. Blue Grace
  6. Space , Love
  7. Knew
  8. Melodicore
  9. So Low...Amen
  10. Misunderstood
  11. Piano String
  12. Won’t You Be My Baby, Baby
  13. Away